July 2004

“Ya sure ya don’t wanna come along? Lots of fresh air, wide open spaces and the sunsets are right purty.”

“Nah, you go ahead, that’s not really my kind of thing, Fitzie.” Danny winked at him, tilting his chair back and putting his feet up on the corner of his desk. “You know me, I’m just a city boy.”

Martin nodded then glanced once more at his other two colleagues. Both women immediately shook their heads no and pretended to be busy. With a shrug, he turned to leave, pausing at the door to touch the brim of his hat. “Watch yer backs,” he said with a lazy drawl.

As soon as he was gone, Sam burst out laughing. “What was that all about?” she asked, her eyes wide with disbelief.

“Hey, I thought it was kind of cute,” Vivian told them, fondly amused.

“I never would have guessed that Martin Fitzgerald was a weekend cowboy,” Sam said, turning to gaze at the empty doorway.

“Yeah, well whatever you do, don’t ever let his friend hear you call him a cowboy.” Danny shuddered dramatically, remembering the one time he’d made that mistake. “He hates that.”

“I wonder if he rides one of those mechanical bull things?”

“Nah, he’s got a horse,” Danny supplied. “That other guy keeps it for him, out on his ranch.”

“That other guy was hot,” Sam practically drooled. “Those pants he was wearing . . ..”

“Ought to be illegal,” Vivian concluded. “I thought for sure they were gonna split at the seams.”

Jack peered around the corner, looking around cautiously before coming out to join them. “I take it Elvis has left the building?”

Before anyone could reply, a tall, authoritative figure strode purposefully into their office area, coming to a stop in the middle of the room. “Why isn’t that television on?”

“Deputy Director, how nice to see you,” Jack greeted, then turned a glare on his team and flicked his eyes toward the TV.

Danny grabbed the remote and turned the TV back on. “It was only off for a few seconds, sir.”

“Need I remind you that your assignment is to closely monitor every single minute of the Democratic Convention?”

“No, sir,” they all replied simultaneously.

“Sir, if you don’t mind my asking,” Danny spoke up, wearing a puzzled frown, “shouldn’t we be down at the actual convention if we’re supposed to be watching for possible security threats or signs of terrorism?”

“Who said anything about terrorism? You’re supposed to be watching those . . . those democrats,” he spat the word, “for any sign of nefarious activity. Terrorism,” he waved a hand, “psshhtt.”

Jack turned his back to Victor, raising his eyebrows and giving each of his agents a significant look.

”Sir, it’s a public convention,” Samantha couldn’t help mentioning. “It’s being broadcast live, nationwide.”

“Your point, Agent?”

“Well, what sort of nefarious activity would they possibly get up to on live, national television?”

Victor Fitzgerald’s eyes narrowed and he leaned closer to them. ”With democrats you never know,” he said in a low, conspiratorial voice, then looked suspiciously over his shoulder.

“Riiiight,” three voices answered, and then all three agents turned toward the TV. Four years ago, when the Republican Convention was going on and the democrats were in the White House, they’d been in the middle of a big case. They’d heard rumors of similar assignments being handed out, but none of them had believed it to be true. Until now.

“Where is my so . . .Agent Fitzgerald?”

“Uh, he’s on vacation,” Jack told him. “In fact, he just left a few minutes ago. I’m surprised you didn’t see him on your way in.”

“He probably wouldn’t have recognized him if he had seen him,” Vivian pointed out.

”What do you mean?”

”He was all dressed in buckskin, wearing a cavalry hat and toting a horse leg.” Sam got a wistful look on her face. Martin had looked pretty adorable in that get-up, with that five-o’clock shadow and those hair extensions . . .. Just thinking about it made her palms sweaty.

“Horse leg?” Victor questioned, images of The Godfather flashing through his mind.

“Mare’s leg. A cut-down Winchester rifle. Don’t worry, he said it weren’t . . . uh, wasn’t loaded,” Danny informed him with a grin.

“Not again,” Victor groaned, looking toward the heavens.

“Yep, and he was with some scary looking guy who was dressed in black and jingled when he walked,” Vivian supplied. “Kinda looked like the grim reaper.”

”I thought he was hot.” Samantha repeated, gazing dreamily at the doorway again.

“So, you’ve said.” Danny flicked a paper clip at her.


Jack stood silently, thoughtfully scratching his chin and wondering if it might be possible to get a pair of tight black jeans, a cowboy hat and maybe some of those jingle-bob spurs on Ebay.

“Martin said he’d be back next week,” Vivian told the deputy director, hoping he would leave already, so they could turn off the television or at least change the channel to VH1.

At any other time Victor Fitzgerald would have hopped on a jet and headed for the Four Corners region to give his son a piece of his mind. He’d thought for sure he’d convinced the boy to sever his ties with those six ATF subversives. Unfortunately, at the moment, he had bigger fish to fry. He was sure the democrats were up to something; at the very least they had intentionally interrupted his favorite television show, just to spite him. Well, he would get them back, somehow, he vowed as he sat down at his son’s desk and focused his attention on the TV screen. Next week he would deal with Martin.

end :)